Monday, May 15, 2006

Something Strange (and Wonderful)


(This concludes a series of entries described in ‘Something I’ve Made’, which appears below.  For those who have slogged through this overload of verbiage over these past several days, thank you for your endurance and your patience). 



If you’ve read previous entries in this series, you will know that I’ve played fast and loose with the ‘rules’ of this particular assignment – and today I’ll break perhaps the most fundamental of those rules, for the ‘picture’ to illustrate this final tale will solely be a recollection of my own mind’s eye – and an attempt to re-create those images for you using only words.


Some of you who have known me for awhile may remember the story I am about to relate.  Some of the words may even be familiar, for I freely admit to plagiarizing my own old outgoing correspondence to craft this entry, but rather than post a humorous image of something odd found around the house, I’m choosing to tell you about a night when nature and imagination and the occasional gift to see things beyond the mundane came together to create a set of experiences which will remain with me for the rest of my days.  So then – the tale of the winter fireflies:



In January of 2005, I celebrated a ‘significant’ birthday.  Rather than have an ordinary party, I decided that the best way to celebrate life to date and to contemplate life yet to come was to rent a cabin at a nearby State Park for a weekend and then invite my closest friends to share the weekend with me.  To my surprise and delight, each found a way around his busy schedule and life’s demands to join me.  It was not the first time many of us had shared a weekend adventure, but I will always be grateful to them for taking that time to celebrate with me.


One of the traditions when my friends and I get together for a weekend away has always been a midnight walk.  These take place regardless of time of year or weather - and experiences shared and discussions held during these times have cemented some of my deepest friendships.   There's something about being alone in nature, usually far away from everything and very late at night, which helps one focus, cast the worries of the world aside, drop pretenses and egos and simply speak the words of the heart.

That Saturday night was very crisp and cold.  The moon was only a day or two past full and cast paths of silver light throughout the barren trees and across the virgin snow.  Three of us set out and walked for about a half hour, talking about how lives have changed in the years we have known each other but that friendships - real friendships - endure.

After a time, the others grew tired and cold and returned to the cabin, but there was something calling me to linger awhile in the pristine beauty of the moment.  I took a different trail and emerged back on the main road, feeling exhilarated but still seeing and hearing nothing out of the ordinary.  Then I turned a corner - and suddenly knew what I was there to see.

Now I am blessed to live on a property that brings nature literally to my doorstep.  In the warm nights of summertime, I love to turn off all the interior and exterior lights and sit on the deck, peering down into the valley below.  As my eyes adjust to the darkness, the night becomes alive with the glow of fireflies - thousands of brilliant, momentary flashes of light in a silent natural fireworks show.

But this night, I was stunned to have that same experience in the cold and dead of frigid winter!  As I walked along that road, the woods became alive with tiny winking lights wherever I looked.  My jaw dropped as I tried to comprehend what I was seeing - and in awe of the stunning beauty of the scene.  

Slowly came the realization that moisture on the limbs of the trees and bushes had turned to intricate crystals of ice and, as I walked, the moon's reflection off each caused the eye to see only flashes of light.  I stopped - and half the 'fireflies' froze in place.   It was as if the world had stopped, that time stood still and that I alone had witnessed this cosmic event, there in the silence of the forest.  I took a step or two and the fireflies winked on and off again.  Stopped - and again felt suspended in time and space.   For at least half an hour, I continued in this wonderland of light and magic until finally the lights of the cabins ahead dimmed the glow of this gift of nature.

By the time I returned to the cabin, the others had retired for the evening.  I sat by the small gas fireplace for an hour, lost in thought and replaying the scene in my head – absorbing again and again the lesson that there is beauty all around us in this world, if only we take the time to let it find us.


inafrnz247 said...

what incredible imagery in your telling of tales.... I'm still there, in my mind, and can only try to imagine having truly been there.  This reminds me a bit of when I was on a flight home from Europe when I was 16...everyone else was asleep, and I was able to take in the sun, rising in all it's wonder and color, all on my own.  I turned to tell my seatmate to check it out, and decided, no ~ this is all for me!  That moment of beauty I will hold with me always.  I still go outside every night before bed just to check things out a bit: the stars, the moon's glow, the sounds of spring (even the rain!)  It's so important to remember nature's blessings in the day to day of life's (sometimes unkind) routine...  Michelle

bedazzzled1 said...

I love, love, love this tale of yours. You were caught in a magic that is and always will be. What a special way to celebrate that significant 30th birthday. ::giggle::